Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Environmental Impact Statement?
An environmental impact statement (EIS) is a formal report disclosing the nature of the project and its potential impacts as well as mitigation measures. EISs are required to present: (i) alternatives to a development proposal; (ii) environmental impacts of the proposed activities; and (iii) adverse environmental effects that cannot be avoided and mitigation measures for these. For projects that will involve use of natural resources, the EIS is required to make an assessment of whether short-term uses are consistent with long-term productivity.
What is the Difference Between EIA and EIS?
Since the early 1980s, the contents of EIS documents have grown far beyond those basic elements to include aspects of social acceptability, environmental management plan, environmental monitoring, and guarantee fund mechanisms.
An EIS is a report containing the findings from an environmental impact assessment (EIA). An EIA consists of the following steps: (i) screening, (ii) scoping, (iii) impact identification, (iv) baseline establishment; (iv) impact forecasting and evaluation; (v) impact mitigation and management plan formulation.
What is an ECC?
An Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) is issued to cerrtify that a proponent has submitted an acceptable EIS and may proceed to implement his project. ECCs may specify certain activities or environmental safeguards that should be impemented by the proponent. These are called conditionalities.
What Kinds of Projects are Covered?
Projects requiring an EIS were enumerated in Presidential Proclamation 2146 and further defined in the National Environmental Protection Council (now Environmental Management Bureau) Memorandum Circular No. 3 series on 1983 as either: (i) project located in an environmentally critical area (ECA), or (ii) an environmentally critical project (ECP).
When Was the EIS System Enforced by DENR?
Three types of projects were originally identified as environmentally critical: heavy industries, infrastructure, and resource-extractive activities. Golf courses were later added to this list. Full environmental impact statements (EIS) are required for environmentally critical projects.
Environmenetal Critical Areas include: national parks, wildlife preserves, potential tourist spots, habitat of endangered or threatened species, historic archeological areas, areas occupied by cultural communities, areas frequented by natural calamities, prime agricultural lands, high slopes, waterbodies, mangrove, and coral reefs. For projects located in these areas, proponents are required to initially prepare an initial environmental examination (IEE) which is used by DENR to determine whether or not a full environmental impact assessment should be conducted.
The legal basis for enforcement of the EIS system was established in June 1982 with the publication of the EIS rules and regulations in the Official Gazette. In 1983, "technical definitions" of project types and areas covered were released. Projects operating prior to 1982 are not covered by the EIS System.
What are DENR’s Implementing Guidelines for the EIS System?
The Department Administrative Orders(DAOs) that guide implementation of the EIS System are: (i) DAO No. 21, series of 1992; (ii) DAO No. 11, series of 1994; and (iii) DAO No. 37 issued in 1996. Recently, DAO 42 (2003) decentralized the review and issuance of ECCs for environmental critial projects.
What is Programmatic EIS Compliance?
DAO 21 revised the earlier rules and regulations of PD 1586. DAO 21 also defined procedures for processing environmental compliance certificate (ECC) applications (screening of projects, processing of EISs, conduct of public hearing, granting of ECC and EIA monitoring), duties and responsibilities of proponents and DENR, and sanctions for non?compliance. Non-compliance made required payment of up to 50,000 (per violation) and/or revocation of ECC.
DAO 11 provided compliance through a so-called programatic approach, as described in the next section. This allowed the use of single EIS for multiple projects, i.e., projects located in the same area or projects that are of the same type/design but located in different areas.
In 1996, DAO 37 mandated the preparation of a Procedural Manual on EIA. It also included golf courses among the list of ECPs. The DAO introduced innovations which were intended to strengthen the EIS system. Among these were: scoping as a new pre-EIA requirement, the replacement of the earlier Project Description by Initial Environmental Examination (IEE), a timeframe for EIS or IEE review, an accreditation system for EIA preparers, and a requirement for an accountability statement that should be issued by both the proponent and preparers attesting to the truthfulness of the EIA findings.
For co-located projects, DAO 11 provided procedures for programmatic compliance. A program is defined as series of similar projects or projects subdivided into several phases, whether located in a contiguous area or geographically dispersed. Under DAO 11, programs may apply for one ECC to cover all proposed "sub-projects" using DENR's data, called ecological profile, to establish the discharge of each industry covered. DAO 11 provided an incentive to encourage industry to locate in designated regional growth centers identified by the government.
What is SBMA’s Mandate With Regard to the EIS System?
Under the implementing rules of RA 7227, SBMA has adopted and is enforcing all Philippine environmental laws including the EIS System and all the rules and regulations of the DENR concerning environmental protection. The Ecology Center has adopted DENR's standards and guidelines, including the EIS system procedures specified in DAO 36. It issues Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) as a pre-requisite for registration of Freeport locators.
What is Screening Under the EIS System?
Screening assigns proposed actions into one of several categories based on potential environmental impacts. There are three proposed coverage categories. The first is the list of environmentally critical projects (heavy industries, infrastructure, resource?extraction, and golf course development). The second category is a list of twelve types of areas classified as environmentally critical. The third category includes co-located projects in economic zones (for programatic compliance).
What is Scoping?
Environmentally critical projects are required to prepare and submit EIS. For projects located in these areas, proponents are required to submit an Initial Environment Examination (IEE) which will be used by EMB to determine the need for a full EIA. Co-located projects may be covered by a programmatic EIS.
Formal scoping is to be used to focus the assessment on the most relevant aspects of a development project. It is seen as providing an early link between the regulatory agency and the proponent to ensure that the EIA addresses relevant issues and presents results in a form consistent with review requirements. Scoping also allows interested parties to make their concerns known and establish early agreement on how to resolve conflicts arising from the proposed project. In this way, formal scoping facilitates social acceptance of projects. The agreed?upon scope is to be put in writing??thus, the term "formal" scoping??to serve as "terms of reference" for the EIA and be used as basis for review of the project.
What Makes EIA an Effective Planning Tool?
While the original intent of the system was to force proponents to examine and disclose fully the environmental impacts of their projects, the real intent is force proponents to integrate EIA into the planning process, specifically the conduct of feasibility studies.
In order to achieve this intent, emphasis should be on the preparation of an Environmental Management Plan -- not the preparation of voluminous background material. Many of the technical elements of the EIA should be incorporated into the feasibility study report.
What is the process for getting a tree cutting/trimming permit?
The applicant for a tree cutting/trimming permit shall apply in writing or may fill up an application form at the Ecology Center stating the reason for the activity. The applicant shall provide information such as, name and contact address/phone/fax, location of the site and the tree(s) affected, species and sizes, and other information deemed relevant to facilitate review of the request. The Ecology Center upon receipt of the formal request will inspect the site. If the reasons stated are found to be valid, the Ecology Center shall issue the appropriate permit, which in the case of a cutting permit will include replacement seedlings and maintenance fee in accordance with the existing guideline. The Ecology Center will advise the applicant on proper procedures for tree cutting or trimming.
Who shall I call to report any illegal activity like tree cutting, hunting, etc?
You may call the Law Enforcement Department’s Front Desk at Tel No. 252-4550 or 252-4650. The LED will coordinate with the Ecology Center and the Intelligence and Investigation Office (IIO) for further investigation of the reported activity.
Can we camp or go anywhere in the Subic Forest?
Camping is allowed only in certain areas of the Subic Bay Freeport, however, no one is allowed to camp or go anywhere inside the Subic Forest unless there is a special written permit issued by the Ecology Center and accompanied by a designated tour guide.
Why is feeding of monkeys prohibited in the Subic Bay Freeport?
Feeding of monkeys is prohibited because they will lose their instinct to hunt for food. Feeding the monkeys may also make them sick since most of the foods given them are junk food.
Can we do tree planting activities in the Subic Bay Freeport?
Tree planting activities are most welcome in the Subic Bay Freeport, however, these should be coordinated with the Ecology Center for the species to plant and assigning of area. Ecology Center can only give a limited number of seedlings. Ecology Center does not encourage ceremonial tree planting because no maintenance follows after the organization has planted the seedlings and photo opportunities have taken place.
Can I fish anywhere in the bay?
There are prescribed fishing areas in the bay. You need to obtain a fishing permit from FSC Tourism Department and pay the corresponding fee.
What if I like to dive? Can I dive anywhere in Subic Bay?
No one is allowed to dive anywhere in Subic Bay unless he is a certified diver and accompanied by a certified dive master from an SBMA-registered dive shop.
Do I need a permit if I want to conduct scientific/educational research?
Yes, a permit is needed if you will conduct a scientific/educational research in the Subic Forest/Bay. You will also need to obtain a Free and Prior Informed Consent from the Pastolan Aytas for areas within their ancestral domain.
What parts of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone are protected?
The Subic Watershed Forest Reserve and portion of the marine waters are the protected areas of the Subic Bay Freeport and these fall under different management zones as specified in the SBMA Board-approved Subic Bay Protected Area Management Plan (SBPAMP).
Why and when does Ecology Center conduct inspection?
- to monitor the company's compliance to environmental rules and regulations with in the Freeport Zone.
- annual inspection (three (3) months prior to the expiration of Certificate of Registration)
- Hazard calls
Why is there a need to designate a PCO for every company?
The company is mandated to appoint a Pollution Control Officer. PCO's are responsible for overseeing the environmental compliance of the company.
He also serves as a point person of environmental agency.
Is the company allowed to transport any kind of waste outside SBFZ?
No. Transporting of garbage or waste is a prohibited act under the SBMA Waste Management Guidelines.
How do we dispose our Hazardous Waste?
All hazardous waste must be disposed in an accredited Hazardous Waste Treatment Facility through an accredited
Hazardous Waste Transporter.
Who are the accredited Hazardous Waste Transporters and Scrap Haulers?
Ecology Center has a register of Hazardous Waste Transporters and Scrap Haulers.
Whom shall we call in case of Oil Spills and other environmental hazards?
Ecology Center at 252-4155, 4416.
What is a Notice of Violation (NOV)?
Notice of Violation (NoV) is issued by the Ecology Center to companies with major environmental violations, such as:
- Eminent danger/damage to the environment
- Actions leading to increase in potential exposure to hazardous wastes and toxic chemical substances
- Chronic and recalcitrant violators
- Deviate substantially (more than 50%) from effluent or emission standards or froms terms of permit
- Falsify self-monitoring reports to misled the Ecology Center in assessing compliance
- Has not allowed entry to Ecology Center Inspectors
- Also issued when minor deficiencies are recurring and not mitigating actions are undertaken by the company.
What is a Notice of Deficiency?
Issued to companies who are first time violators with minor deficiency such as:
- No ECC/CNC
- No imminent danger to the environment
- Violations that can be solved expeditiously
- First time violator who pose no threat of exposure to hazardous wastes or toxic chemicals
- The violator does not have a history of non-compliance to environmental permits conditions.